Transcending Technique – Music Instead of Moves

Tonight I chose to transcend technique.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the rules, the steps, the movements, and the patterns of a dance. These tools are important for conveying the underlying principles of a dance form but in the end all techniques are just that, tools. They provide a framework for telling us how to connect, how to stand strongly, move sensibly and musically, send information to our partner and receive it back. The goal for me however has always been to move beyond these tools, intuitively connect to the principles they have to teach and just experience, express, and move within the music.

To transcend technique does not mean to forget the language it provides. This is where the fine balance comes. To make a pun or a play on words requires not that you abandon your knowledge of language and structure but instead that you feel so comfortable with it that you can turn it on its head. The only way a pun is witty is because you know the original meaning of the words — and so does your partner. The fact that you and your partner share a common dance language and can always come back to a familiar tongue you share can give you a firm ground to experiment. Tonight though I did not rely on this ground. There was no basic step from which experiments sprung. My partner and I relied on the solid ground of connection and communication at a more fundamental level. The dance was no longer a series of experiments but a series of discoveries.

In this space the dance never needs rescuing or retreat to solace, there is always trust that each stumble can become a leap, each fall a dramatic move to earth that comes back to air.